Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Week Off

I've had a break from blogging this past week. Hubby took a week off and we did the "Clean Sweep" thing to our master bedroom and walk-in closet and got a good start on the garage. It's amazing the things you can accumulate in 18 years. Goodwill and the landfill were enriched.

I came across a lot of old stuff from my reunions with my surrendered children in my cleaning frenzy....things I had written back when I was still calling myself a "birth"mother. Those things were at the beginning of a 14-year odyssey of education and enlightenment and I cannot believe how far I have come from that timid beemommy that wanted my children's adopters to like me so that I could, at least, maybe have a little place in their lives. Coming out of that fog is so empowering.

For instance, I read another study this morning, on a blogspot blog like this one, that only reiterates and emphasizes the things that many of us have learned long ago. This study, 'Degenerative Policy Design: An Examination of Sealed Adoption Record Policy by Larry Watson, LMSW-ACP ', shows how the laws governing closed adoption records evolved over the years. One sentence, in particular, stood out to me. "Laws closing adoption records to the parties were enacted not as a shield to protect birth parents from their adult children's ever learning identity, but as a sword to prevent them from interfering with the adoptive families raising the children."

I am so happy to see this on a blog that adoptees read. When we lose our children to adoption, everyone tells them it was our choice...our fault. When they are denied their own history as adults, again, facilitators, adopters and others blame us in the name of "b****mother confidentiality." Those of us who have seen the surrender papers or facsimilies can attest to the fact that there is NO clause or reference to a guarantee of anonymity for mothers. MOST mothers find the idea of needing protection of our confidentiality from our children to be laughable.

No, indeed. The entire idea of mothers of adoption loss as a group desiring such "protection" is just another fabrication by the industry, facilitators, adoption attorneys, etc., who want to protect the REAL client/customer...the adopters. This is just one more of the lies that the industry and adopters tell our children and our children believe it and we wonder why they get angry at US??

Looking back, I can see a time when I bought this whole line of garbage, including the idea of "confidentiality," hook, line and sinker. I, personally, didn't want anonymity and "protection" from my children, but I believed it was a promise made to those of us who lost children to adoption. I can read my naivete' in the old, saved writings of early reunion and awakening. What a difference a good education can make in one's perceptions.

There is more information available now, than 14 years ago. There are more mothers speaking out and telling the truth about our loss, pain and frustrations. People are starting to listen and learn. I just wish the process could get faster and less painful. I also hope it doesn't take the next awakening Mother of Loss as many years as it has taken me to accept and embrace the truth.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

How To Word A Poll..... get the results you want. I think the initial question on this poll featured at is along the same lines as "have you stopped beating your wife." If you are forced, coerced or have certain current difficulties used against you, then you DON'T "PLACE!" They did, in the body of questions, include one truth and that one is the leader at the moment. The question they have asked is "Why Did You 'Place' (yuck) Your Child For Adoption?" I just had to take this oversimplified mess and make some additions. Here are the options available for votes on this poll. Just one little bit of recently gleaned knowledge. The majority of mothers were coerced/forced, but many don't either want to admit to how powerless they actually were or they cling to the illusion of the heroic, self-sacrificing mother in order to cope with the enormity of their loss. So take some of the answers with a grain of salt. It takes a secure woman to admit that it was taken completely out of her hands and that she was given no other option.

Forced. I didn't have a choice between my parents, social workers, and/or agency. (409)
65% *Note that, so far, this category has received the largest number of votes. A good questions...I was surprised to find them using it. Add to the parents and SW's, doctors, family lawyers, their churches...the pressure is immense and a nasty thing to do to a young, vulnerable mother-to-be.

Finances. I was in a bad financial situation. I didn't think I could afford to feed the both of us. (73) 11% *Notice that the questions uses the phrase "I didn't think I could afford...etc." It begs the question did anyone really try to help these mothers find the many resources available to them or did the voracious agencies and adopters say "let's go with that" and harvest the infants of monthers that probably had more resources and option than they realized? I wonder if any of these mothers were directed to the services that would have made it possible for them to have all the necessities while they got on their feet, financially? IF this information is not made available, by state agencies for sure, then someone should demand that it be included in all information given a mother to be in such a situation. Financial woes don't have to be forever.

Victim. I was the victim of rape/incest. I wouldn't have been able to raise a child born of such violence. (5) 0% *I know how traumatic that can be and it speaks to my own experience. My second surrendered child was conceived by what we now call "date rape." (Back then, it was called "she asked for it.) Now my motherly instincts had already been triggered, but I am hard-put to understand why there was no intense counseling for the mother for her trauma as well a lot of exercises on separating that innocent child from the act that caused the conception. In the final analysis, he was MY baby, the product of my body and how he got there was secondary to the need to love and protect him. It is, in my opinion, childish and petulant to blame an innocent infant for the sins of their fathers.

Abuse. Due to my abusive relationship I wanted my baby to be in a safer environment. (5) 0% *So then, the abuser is more important that your child? And what decent, principled social worker would take the baby and leave the mother in that situation. What real efforts were made to insure her safety and the safety of her child? Was she even told that there were ways to make it on her own without the abuser or that she had the law on her side? Were any of the women's shelters and staff given the opportunity to help this kind of mother-to-be? This is not a problem with no solutions.

Drugs/Alcohol. Due to my drug problem or that of my significant other, I thought we couldn't or shouldn't be parents. (3) 0% *OK, so did you think this or were you told this? Shouldn't BE parents? Sorry, but that decision was taken out of your hands. Surrender of your baby did not take away anything but your parental rights and responsibilities. Your parenthood will always be a part of you. Finding a legal guardain for your baby while you found treatment and recovery would have been all-around the best solution. Did anyone even try to suggest that idea? Was your family unwilling to provide a stable home among the family of origin until you could find your way to recovery. That precious baby would have been a mighty powerful incentive to work with re-hab and deal with withdrawal.

Single. I didn't think I could handle parenting alone. (68) 10% *Now this one is the kicker. In this age of strong women and empowerment for mothers, a woman still thinks that she absolutely MUST have a man and a man's name in order to be a successful mother? Women have been raising children alone for generations. With this kind of reasoning, the momen a mother became a widow, or lost her husband to divorce, etc, she should have been running to an agency , crying "Take my kids!!!" This almost sounds like adoption-industry rote perpetrated on someone vulnerable and with little to no self-esteem. Did anyone try to bolster the self-image of these moms. Did the agencies or other entities salivating over the thought of taking that baby even stop to point out to her all the single mothers that, for generations, have done the job and done it well? Nope, didn't think so.

Other (64) *Lord only knows what these reasons were. Obviously 64 women thought themselves somewhat unique.

In an companion poll that asked about "language preferences" it needs to be noted that "Natural Mother" is beating out "birfmudder" by a country mile and "Surrender" has routed "placed." These are real mothers answering, people at AC, so you might want to take note.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Does It Ever Get Better?

A friend is going to a support group meeting and wanted to know what she could say to the mothers of loss in pain when they ask, "Does it ever get better? Does the pain ever go away?"

If I were to answer, I'd have to do so from my experience. I don't think it ever "goes away." But, for me it has become less intense and more manageable with time and information and education. Ideally, you learn how to live with it, control the emotional response and still find happiness. I am the happiest I have ever been in my life, right now. That happiness is not dependent on how my reunited children relate to me or anything or anyone else, including adoption, but on me and how I choose to live.

Maybe I am getting to a better place with it all because, while I still get triggered, my reaction is usually just pure anger and frustration and, in some cases, simply disgust. For that reason, I don't always go to sites or read articles that I know, in advance, are going to make me want to throw things. I pick and choose my debates and don't enter in to any that look like they are going to be non-productive. I also have to think about how I am feeling at the time, physically and emotionally. Then I sort out what I can do about what and what I can't do about what and forge ahead. I try to recognize my limitations. For instance, I can try to educate and enlighten, but I cannot control people's thought processes..I can't MAKE anyone else see things our way.

The adoption machine, SW's, family (hereafter referred to as THEM/They), that had a hand in my loss did have all the power back then. But I have the personal power now. If I thought, especially now that I am in my 60's, that I would suffer unending pain and sorrow forever, why would I want to see 70 and 80 and whatever I am given beyond that?

Maybe I am just too old for deep angst but I have accepted what happened as unchangeable, though inarguably unjust and horrible, and I try to concentrate on changing what I can in the here and now. I've come out on the other end of the adoption loss experience a wiser person. If we can attain some sort of redress and investigation into those crimes from yesterday, well and good and I am heartily in favor of and among those fighting to see that happen. In the meantime, doing what you can to help others in the same situation is better than an anti-depressant. Someone once told me, after a family tragedy, to look for the gift in the midst of the pain. Direction, awareness and truth are my gifts and I try to use them.

I think of my former neighbor from years ago, Gertrude Radenberg, a German Jew, who saw her new husband (they were wed two days before they were sent to the camp), sister and father die in the concentration camp where she spent 3 years of her young life (age 17 to 20). She wore a tattoo that marked her as a victim of the worst kind of oppression and personal disempowerment possible. She told me that when the Nazis would come into her dreams, or she would see the Holocaust depicted in film or on TV, she would laugh and say, "Here I am, you Putzes. You didn't kill ME, I am still here and I live and have love and laughter in my life. You didn't win and if you ever try again, I know how to fight you!"

Isn't that a bit the same? If we don't get better and learn how to live with what happened and how to cope without plunging into the emotional abyss every time we see or hear something that triggers us, then THEY have won. It's time for US to win. Now we know what to fight and are learning how to fight. So, I'd tell the moms at the support group that yes, it CAN get better. Look inside for your strength, to the rest of us for support and have patience.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Leveling Out

I am beginning to think that, if both parties work at it, reunion, like water, will eventually find its own level. My daughter and I seem to be approaching a comfort zone, a place where we both can feel truly at ease with each other. It will be 14 years come April 30, 2007. I would say that we have definitely given it our best effort and it's paying off.

I couldn't help but think how I would have felt, 15 years ago, had I received the call I did today. She just needed some input on an anniversary dinner she was putting together for her in-laws, but the pure ease and normalcy of that simple call blew me away. We discussed the virtues of wiping mushrooms rather than washing them and debating how much garlic without ever thinking about how this whole phone call, had the adoption industry and the "keepers of the keys" had their way, might have never happened.

She also mentioned a person who had been posting on a MySpace group where she does a bit of adoption-related messaging. It seems that this was someone that wanted to upset everyone's apple cart and she was complaining a bit about their foul language. Then she mentioned a potential adopter entering the group, wanting pointers from "bee-mommies" and other people who had adopted about how to find a baby. It seems that didn't sit too well with my eldest child. She more or less let the trolling PAP know that she didn't have a right to take a baby from anyone, infertility aside.

It seems that, while not as 100% militant anti-adoption as her Mom, my precious apple didn't fall far from the tree. She definitely has some 95% anti-adoption genes. There was a time when she would have told me that adoption was Divinely Orchestrated and Meant To Be. She has come so far and I knew that the strength and the savvy was all there, underneath the grateful adoptee surface, ready to burst forth in all its glory.

We had a really good discussion about angry adoptees and frozen mothers of loss and then she was off to work on her dinner party. And as usual, she ended the conversation with, "I love you, Mom." And I said, "I love you too, BabyGirl." This was a GOOD day.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

No Longer Going Crazy...

A few weeks back, a young mother in San Diego wrote to the Dear Abby column, complaining about her lack of "motherly" feelings, stating she hated her new baby girl, that her husband wouldn't allow her to give her daughter away and that she was on the edge, emotionally. She signed it, "Going Crazy In San Diego." "Dear Abby" immediately responded by urging her to, first, seek help for her emotional state, and then, to find , right away, a "couple who would love her child." Of course, I saw red on that one.

It was obvious to anyone with half a brain that what this mom needed was NOT to lose her baby but to have immediate and aggressive attention given to her very bad case of post-partum depression, and the Abby column got a ton of mail to that effect, my email among them. Unfortunately, there was also a lot of mail with the same knee-jerk reaction as Pauline's ("Abby"), whose family has a history of adopting, that urged her to surrender her child before she hurt the baby. I was so concerned that this woman was going to lose her baby to the ignorance of the adoption-besotted reading public that I refused to read the column for a long time.

This morning, in my Orlando Sentinel, the signature on the first letter of the "Dear Abby" column caught my eye. It read, "No Longer Going Crazy In San Diego." Thank Heavens, the mom in question had received help and support from all sides, including the military as her husband is in the service, and was back to being a normal young mother. She is also now on anti-depressants...good drugs if used right and too much maligned. She apologized for what she felt was her trespass of "upsetting" so many people. She also mentioned that her daughter's colic is soothed by the sound of her mother's voice reading to her, so she now reads to her child, daily. My prayers were answered and a sacred bond was preserved.

If those around her and those that wrote in had not urged her to get the help she needed, I hate to think about what might have happened. I honestly don't think the child's physical safety was ever in jeopardy. But I can imagine how this mother would have felt after the depression passed if she had followed some of the more specious advice she received and surrendered her baby daughter for adoption (I can just picture the facilitators and PAP's salivating and rubbing their hands together in glee). She would have been another one of the walking wounded, another mother who lost her heart to endless grief because someone helped themselves to her baby instead of giving a helping hand to the mother.

This brought me back to the days when my first raised child was born. She was a little blond, pink and white angel and had killer colic. My breast milk was not good enough, I thought, but the fact was that her little tummy had some issues that only time and growth would help. I was in an unhappy marriage and was also very intimidated by all the messages I had received when I lost my two oldest children to adoption. That "unfit mother" crap can hang with you for a long time. I put her to bed one night and muttered, "I think that you just wait until I get to sleep to wake up and cause me grief." I fell into bed, exhausted.

Sure enough, about 2:00AM, I heard the little grunts and whimpers from the crib next to our bed. I had been through 2 months of this and was right on the edge. I was fighting back tears as I pulled my protesting body out of bed and trudged over to the crib and said, "OK, what the Hell do YOU want NOW?" At the sound of my voice, her little head jerked around, her eyes lit up and her first real smile split her face from ear to ear. I melted. If, at that moment, she had found a voice and asked me to sever my arm from my shoulder, I would have done it...for her. I changed her, wrapped her up and walked into the other room to nurse her. While she nursed, I softly let the tears from exhaustion, frustration, worry and self-doubt flow freely. I didn't sob, I just let them come. I could feel the tension in my body ease and I think she did too, because she nursed until she was full, burped twice, smiled at me once more (after much cajoling on my part) and went back to sleep until 8:00AM.

No that wasn't the end of the colic. She was 6 months old before she was able to sleep all night without a tummy-ache. But she ate, she put on weight, and when her tummy wasn't bothering her, she was a total delight. What did end that night were the feelings I had that I was no good for her and worth nothing to her. That smile was for ME. She was happy that I was there. She knew ME and wanted ME, her MOTHER. Not long after that night, my doctor put me on medication for my depression and my daughter on the bottle with a special formula for her tummy and the colic did improve. I worked at getting along with my, then, husband and was able to face life knowing that I was worthwhile as a mother.

That was all it took....that smile and the realization that I wasn't a total screw-up as a person or a mother. I was badly damaged from my adoption losses and I would not deal well with that all the time, but I grew a little bit with that experience, enough to start thinking about feeling better about myself and a journey that took a lot of years really began. That's all that "Going Crazy" needed..just some assurance that she wasn't an unnatural monster and that there was help available. I am so happy for her and for her daughter.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Space Deleted, Film at 11

We have recently received word, here at Motherhood Deleted, that the people at Concerned Unitd Birthparents who claimed credit for coining the derogatory and coercive "birth(?)mother" title have now admitted that they were not very original at all. The term had already been used by the author and adopter, Pearl S. Buck, and later by a facilitator, adopter. No, as it was "clarified" to someone most recently, the term was MODIFIED, to read as one word..."birthmother" rather than "birth mother" to allow a flow of first letters that gave them the acronym "CUB" rather than the somewhat awkward "CUBM". That means that quite a few of the arguments by proponents of that hideous misnomer are just a wee tad invalidated.

Why all the hubbub, you ask? Well, from this reporter's vantage spot, it looked like there was a bit of resistance to moving ahead and finally allowing the Mother of Adoption Loss to choose what she would be called. Call me picky, but I don't want anyone, not Pearl Buck, Lee Campbell, Marietta Spencer, the "sweet folks" at the CUB forum...ANYONE...deciding what I am to my children and how that relationship should be described. African Americans refuted the titles, "Negro" and "colored" and worse, that designated and denigrated them, as they moved towards more equality. They knew the power of language and they decided it was time to move past the old labels. THEY decided what they would be called as a race.

I was on the CUB forum mailing list for a while until I got booted for not complying with the moderator's demand for my biography (another Mom I know, just to show this person the depth of their foolishness, even included her bra size in her "bio). I read and observed, first hand, the battle of egos and status-quo, the derision with which those who wanted to move forward (including those who wanted an end to the "birth" prefix) were treated. I read long, ego-inundated, pseudo intellectual rants that really put a bad taste in my mouth where CUB, the organization, was concerned. Their forum is part of their voice, and I am NOT impressed.

As the African-American community progressed, so it is time for us to move on as well. We can sit and spin our wheels in the shadow-world of the "poor birthmother," we can continue to cater to the sensitivites of the adoption industry, adopters and angry adoptees, or we can become empowered as Mothers who lost children to adoption. It's not a matter, at all, of invalidating the steps taken by those that started the wheels turning that began opening of the eyes of this country to the problems of adoption. CUB does have some moments of which they can be justifiably proud. And, we all have to start somewhere. But nothing is gained by remaining stuck in a rut of sameness and what we are called IS important. It has become more important now that the word is being, in the here and now, used to effectively coerce mothers-to-be by naming them "birthmothers" before their child is even born or surrender documents are signed.

So now we know and now we can be sure that we Mothers of Adoption Loss did not put the onus of being a "birth-thing," a breeder, a walking uterus, upon ourselves. It's a step forward just knowing this.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Infant Adoption Awareness Idiocy

There is so much I would like to say about this intrusive piece of offal that allows religions, among others, to push moms into adoption to suit their eugenic orientations. But I just don't have the words right now so I am urging you to click on the title of this short piece which will link you to an excellent article. You might also want to click on "Musings of the Lame" in my links in the right-hand column and see what another Mom has to say about recent developments in this area...very in-depth and informative. I also would like to refer the reader to the article about Dr. C. Bachrach's study which, highly pro-adoption, skews the facts no end.
You can find this article at .

I want to place a big billboard across from every church-operated agency in the US that screams, "KEEP YOUR SELF-RIGHTEOUS DEWCLAWS OFF OUR BABIES!!!" But some might see that as excessive...ya think? But again, do I care if some think it is excessive?

Halloween Horror Stories!!!!!

How appropriate, now that Halloween is upon us, that the distaff side of the adoption argument trots out the horror stories of the damaged and fault-ridden mothers of their adoption-acquired children as justification for adoption. There are the usual crackwhores, mentally ill, poor, undereducated and (get this) non-English-speaking mothers (OMIGOD!! It's Alive!!!) whose failings just cry out, it is said, to have their infants adopted by others. (*cue blood-curdling screams and lugubrious organ music)

Let me make something really clear. I am perfectly aware that there are Mothers who, for many sad and horrible reasons, should not have custody of their newborns/children. While these Moms are a small minority of the moms who get gulled and brain-screwed into surrender, the other sort are, sadly, there, real and I do recognize that fact. Still, if you go look at the "Adopter Abuse" threads on Anti-AdoptionTruth, you will see that the same holds true for a portion of the adopter population. And I'll just bet that the adopters that perpetrated these DOCUMENTED abuses, murders, etc, would tell you that they rescued their victims from unfit mothers. I have never denied the existence of these heart-breakingly extreme circumstances on either end. I have just been concentrating on the mainstream Mom who loses her child to adoption.

However, that doesn't mean that I go along with the idea that the answer for the children of these damaged Moms is adoption...I don't. Please refer to my post about legal guardianship. It is not necessary to form a faux "family" to give these children what they need. For good or ill, these kids HAVE a mother, a heritage, a culture, a name and an extended family. That should be honored and it can't be if some baby-hungry person is forcing THEIR name and heritage on this vulnerable infant.

That also doesn't mean that taking children from a damaged mother should always be a permanent state of affairs. That's why the over-zealous CPS and other state agencies should first look to the mother's or father's extended family for fit and caring kinship caretakers if, in fact the situation really merits removal (CPS has been known to be a bit overreactive in order to get to the "goods," doncha know). Due to the bonus bucks offered the states by the federal government, the state agencies are in a heated rush to offer the youngest, especially newborns, to the adoption market. That is $$$ in their state's coffer. So, they may exaggerate the situations of some of these moms just a tad (*wink) and eager wannabe adopters will believe every slanderous, over-stated word of it.

For those Moms who really fit the description of unfit, there may still be some few who can find their way to recovery and a better life. It HAS happened. Too often, they are summarily disembabied with no offer of help, rehab, counseling, etc. Should the best scenario happen and these women recover, they don't need possessive adopters standing between them and their children. A lot of times, women are seen as unfit when all they needed was a helping hand. But this adoption-besotted society of ours is too eager to get their hands on the children to help the mother.

In any event, those children, who truly need to be in the care of someone other than their mother, should be seen to, and placed in a nurturing and caring situation...but not adopted. Beefing up the construct of legal guardianship and improving the atmosphere of temporary care is a must. The onus of adoption and the emotional needs of adopters shouldn't be added to the load of confusion of a child in this situation. Guardians can do a lot for a child versus a child doing anything for adopters.

I have an adopted friend who, after a very long search, found her mother in a mental institution, an unfortunate victim of a serious mental illness. She visits her mother weekly and, in her more lucid moments, her mother remembers her and cries a little and tells her how much she wanted her. It didn't matter to my friend that her mother was incapacitated..but that she was HER MOTHER, period. Taking away all contact, her given name, etc, didn't do this adopted person any favors.

And a lot of poor, less literate and even non-English speaking mothers (we Americans are so arrogant about our supposed superiority) have done a very good job raising their children. While mental illness might be a good reason to refer care of a child to someone other than the mother, these other reasons just don't hold any water. But then, don't people overreach a bit when trying to justify? In any event, you could tell me that a child's Mother was Bloody Mary, The monster Medusa or the Bride of Frankenstein, and that still wouldn't cause me to consider or to recommend adoption as the solution after the child is removed from said monster's custody.

It sure shouldn't be the solution for the mothers I discuss...i.e; the normal, competent woman who gets scammed by a social mythology into the loss of her child. That's Apples and Oranges, y'know. And it still doesn't compute.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ain't He Cute Dept.

If my daughter hadn't persisted in her search for me for 13 years, I would not be enjoying the wonders of great-grandmotherhood. Jantzen, age 4, Austin, Age 4 and Dejah, age 3, are not only are the cutest little ones in the world, they are my view of my family's heritage reaching out to the future. They will be around after I am gone and there will be something of my kith and kin to carry on. It's wonderful and humbling.

Now, to the great-granny's cute kid moment of the month: Austin is learning to say grace at the private pre-school he attends. I was just honored to hear his version of a classic and it goes like this..."God is great, God is good, please God let me eat my food. By His hands we all are fed, give us all some jelly bread. Amen"

And Amen and Thank You, Sweetie. That was one of life's great moments, there.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mothers who "Place"

Of all the more specious of the examples of "correct adoption-speak" that has come down the pike in recent years, the term "placing" a child for adoption is right up there with the demeaning "birth" prefix. You "place" an item in the paper, or you "place" a figurine on a table. You, whether willingly or not, LOSE a child to adoption.

It is discouraging and sad to see the mothers of today that do go along with the nauseatingly cheerful "making of an adoption plan" in order to "place" their precious child with adopters. I have seen many of them awaken down the line to just what they lost and how deeply they were affected and the sight is gut-wrenching...not pretty at all. These mothers have grown up in the United States of Adoption, in a culture besotted with the treacle-sweet, warm and fuzzy mythology that says you can go ahead and use adoption as some sort of after-the-fact birth control and it will be just peachy, wonderful for all concerned. That, of course is total bilge. The grief and regret that will hit them in the heart and mind down the line will be beyond anything they ever thought possible and that doesn't even take into account the probable damage to the child who was lost to adoption.

I remember an employee where I worked, a young college student, who said that, should she become pregnant before she finished school, she would LOVE to "give" her baby to an infertile professor of hers. It was said with no more emotional impact than if she said that she would share her winnings with a poor friend if she should win the lottery. What has caused this mind-set among the young women of today? Where do they get the idea that their motherhood is disposable and only worthwile if it happens at their "convenience?"

I can think of several of them being the clout of the $1.4-billion-plus-a-year adoption industry, their spin doctors and the fact that lawyers, as elected legislators, and who stand to make money from adoption, support adoption in our government. The media, both print and electronic, is top-heavy with those who were so career-oriented that they put off child-bearing until it caught up with them. Hence, there are a large number of adopters controlling the things you read, hear and see.

There is also the celebrity adopter, the person who might not want to ruin a figure with child-bearing or who needs a good "appearance" or who just thinks that they should have what they want and have the money to get what they want. These people adopt children like they buy accessories...whenever the whim hits them. Our young people watch and learn.

There is also your non-celebrity adopter who places the "dear b(lech)mother letters" in the papers and magazines and presents themselves as Ward and June Cleaver, cookie-baking mom and wise, patient dad, able to give a baby "the best money can buy" and who are so much more perfect than a single, young, less affluent mom could ever hope to be. In the case of those who are dealing with the admittedly sad and traumatic fact of infertility, there is also the implicit suggestion that they DESERVE a baby by virtue of their infertility pain.

Then, here's a surprise, there is the complicity of us, the mothers of the BSE (Baby Scoop Era, 1945-1972 app.). By our fear, our silence, our secrecy and our reluctance to "rock the boat," we have kept the truth of the real impact of loss to adoption in the shadow world of our own uncertainties. How many moms might have been saved from the grief and pain we endured if more of us had spoken out, more clearly and more honestly and sooner than now? The fact that we are now speaking out doesn't negate the fact that this information should have been known by the general public long before Ann Fessler's wonderful book came out.

The "Frozen Mother" and the Mother of Loss who is still steeped in shame and is hiding from the light of truth make us, as a group, some of our own worst enemies. A lot of newer moms, who have seen the light, are doing the "eggshell dance" in order to keep their open adoption as open as possible. To the adopters and facilitators, they show a "happy-happy, joy-joy" face and with good reason. It has been seen that often, if an adopter gets wind of the mother's regret and yearning for her child, many of them will slam that open adoption shut so fast that the breeze will knock the mother off her feet. I know of one mother who took her own life after that happened. Open adoption is really nothing more than an industry carrot, an attempt to circumvent the impact of the emerging truth about the pain of adoption loss, and is just as painful a loss as that to secret, closed adoption. Many young moms get the incorrect notion that this entails a form of co-"parenting" and nothing could be further from the truth. You are tolerated as an outsider and any hint that the natural bond is asserting itself is a cue for the adopters to cut off contact.

While there is a lip-service kind of counseling available to these young and painfully gullible moms of today about the ensuing grief, that counseling is done by adoption agencies and/or pro-adoption social workers. It still treats that unending pain as something you can "get over" or that "time will heal." Not so, and when we few who speak up do try to warn our younger sisters, what we say is dismissed by the agency person who is "advising" the mom-to-be (and already calling her a "birthmother" which conditions her to "place") and then she is told that we are angry and bitter and our "experience" is not the norm. Adopted people who try to step forward and tell how adoption adversely affected them, are called "ungrateful" and "disturbed."

These young women have bought into the mind-set that motherhood will take away their access to an education, a career and their "life plan." Got news for those of you with "plans." There is an old saying, "Man proposes, God disposes." Life HAPPENS and having a baby is simply a result of sex without benefit of birth control. Now, I know that this happens and will continue to happen as long as humanity is human and hormones are active. I have no real problem with that. BUT, if, as a result of sex without birth control, a pregnancy happens, it is NOT the end of the world. I personally know quite a few young moms who are successfully managing their education, new jobs AND caring for their children. All it takes is a little bit of support and love and determination. And you won't always be in school, without funds, unmarried, etc. because things always change. Nothing is forever, including some non-sensical idea that's it's a "crisis" when pregnancy occurs.

So, you say you are not "prepared to parent" (another crock of crap..PARENT IS A NOUN!) and that "a baby just won't fit into my life at this time?" TOUGH...that baby is your baby. That baby needs the smell, the feel, the sound of his/her mother. That baby needs to feel welcomed and valued by his/her TRUE MOTHER. Ask any HONEST adopted person if you don't believe that one. This is about responsibility in a big way, and before you make any comparisons with those of us from the BSE, you won't find many of us who wouldn't have loved to have been charged with the responsibility of the care and nurture of our children. WE weren't given the choice. If you are old enough and responsible enough to have sex, then shouldn't that sense of responsibility extend to giving your child, the result of your decision to have sex, the best possible parent, YOU?

Don't give me that song and dance about you not being "mother material" or doubting your ability to be a good mother. Women from day one have felt the same kind of insecurities when they think of being a mother. No matter HOW well-prepared a mother thinks she is, those doubts creep in. You are no different. Remember, if you surrender you WILL feel grief, guilt and pain. You child stands an greater-than-average chance of being damaged by the primal loss of the mother to whom he/she bonded in the womb and from feelings of rejection. I would think that even a slight chance of that happening should make a mom think twice before jumping on the adoption bandwagon.

So, to the adopter who sent me the angry comment the other day, yes, I know there are mothers who "place," because they are under-informed, brainwashed by the same adoption-besotted society mythology that tells you that you have a right to the child of another woman and bombarded with pro-adoption pressure by the media, facilitators, government, adopters and our own "Frozen" sisters. I just wish that I didn't have to include myself and my sisters from the BSE, but I do. We have waited, in silence, too long to save many. Hopefully, now, we can save some.

Robin Westbrook
True Mother of Four
Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Legal Guardianship v Adoption

Since I have had two inquiries about my thoughts on this subject, I will try to answer as best I can.

None of the "institutions" that are in effect at the present time, adoption and foster care to be specific, seem to fit the bill. There are too many abuses in foster care to mention, it is money-based (as is adoption in many instances and certainly from the state's and facilitators' end) and not well overseen and adoption, well, in my mind, it is a failed social experiment, discriminatory and damaging, centered on the needs of the adopters and its time to go is upon us. It is rife with corruption among the facilitators and is no guarantee of a "better life" for the adopted child.

Leaving what? OK, now let's hear the deluge of protestations about the abusive and neglectful crackwhores and slut-mommies. Once again, these people make up the minority of the mothers who have lost their children to the adoption machine and it is becoming more and more apparent that CPS is, shall we say, "over-zealous" in appropriating the children of the young, poor and disenfranchised. In any case, removal to foster care and, certainly, adoption should have ALWAYS been the very last choice for only the most desperate situation.

Legal guardianships and kinship guardianships are available now but they are severely limited in their present forms. There was a time when there was no question that, should parents die, abandon their children or become, in any way, unable to care for their children, the natural families of the parents would step in and raise these children in the bosom of their close kin. These grandparents, aunts and uncles and older siblings did not need to hear their dependent child call them "Mom and Dad." The most desirable solution for the ultimately desperate situation, then, would be a kinship guardianship with all the legal responsibilities for the welfare of the child in the hands of close family members. Even if the family members are not the most well-educated or well-to-do people around, but are decent human beings, then they are certainly the better option for that child than wealthy, highly educated strangers. Having had family members in that situation, I can testify to the fact that it turned out fine, my cousin grew up well-loved and with her family ties honored and she went on to become a successful and happy adult.

In the earlier few centuries, guardianship for orphaned children was the norm. Some parents, from early times on, would designate a close friend or family member to care for their children in the event that they were to die while these children were still minors. It was not uncommon for someone to introduce the child with them as "my ward," or the child refer to "my guardian." Becoming a guardian placed a great deal of responsibility on the shoulders of the guardian-designate, and was not undertaken lightly. But, again, these situations seemed to, for the most part, work out well. It was not a situation where the guardians became "Papa and Mama," but one that respected and operated from the fact that the minor child HAD a family and a name and a heritage.

Legal guardianship as it exists now, in this country, would require modification and some "beefing up." Classes on becoming and being a guardian would be an excellent idea and finding a way to avoid the pitfalls of foster care, where so many are in it for the money (not all so no deluge of protests from foster caregivers, please) would be their first priority. Becoming a guardian would be a truly honorable endeavor because there would be no assumption of parenthood as a "payback." In the event that relatives are unavailable or unfit for assumption of guardianship, the people who did take on the responsibility for the child in question would have to be above any thought of personal gain and highly responsible, but not necessarily among the wealthy or professionals. When my raised children were small and both my parents were deceased, for reason that are private to my ex-husband and I, we designated two close friends as guardians should we die. Guardians should be chosen by the powers-that-be with all the care that they would choose them for their own children with the emphasis on good character rather than affluence. Guardianships by non-related or non-acquainted people would be the last option. It has already been seen that a "home study" can be manipulated, so it would call for a much more in-depth investigation of the guardian candidate than is done now.

Legal guardianship should be a permanent contract, valid through the end of the ward's education and/or marriage and/or assumption of self-support. Any relationship after that would be based on mutual desire and affections. Names of the ward would remain the name they were given at birth, and, if, in the case of an infant, no name was given, then the mother's last name would be used, prefaced by a name chosen by the guardians. The child's legal status would be as both a legal ward AND a member of their original family. Their personal history would remain intact, and free and open contact with extended family members should be an option for them, barring, of course any situation that would be hazardous for the child.

Assumption of guardianship would be a truly child-centered endeavor. Becoming a guardian would not create legal "parenthood" for the guardians and would not include impressing one's family name, heritage, etc., on the child. The baby-hunger of an infertile person would not be a valid reason to confer guardianship. In the case of a mentally ill or addicted or incarcerated mother, there would be a carefully constructed open end that would allow for reunification should the mother's problems become resolved to the satisfaction of those overseeing the guardianship. As for who would oversee this, that would also be a matter for a much-needed overhaul of the Social Service System in this country. Removing adoption credits incentives from the federal government to the states involved would be a good start to that.

Yes, it's a big undertaking and it will take time and it will take effort and it will take people getting out of themselves and their own needs and issues and into the well-being and healthy development of children, period. Most of all, it takes drive and vision and hope....something that many of us are finding again, even after the tragedy of our losses. It may begin with simple adoption reform...but then the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The adoption industry tried throwing out the carrot of "open" adoptions to maintain its money-making impetus. Now, many of the moms who fell for that one are in support groups all over the Internet, dealing with the agony of the closed door to the "open" adoption they thought they were getting. Open adoptions are too subject to the insecurities and whims of the adopters and it still places the needs of the adopters first. It's NOT the answer, but we'll get there.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Whoa! Handslapper Alert!

Yesterday and last night was my time for the critic's corner, I guess. I just had to answer a couple of questions from those joyfully deleted harrangues.

To one poster; No, I have never adopted a child, never want to and won't play one on TV. Why? Well, Gee, it's because I have seen the wreckage and pain among the mothers and their children who were used by this arrogant institution (including me and mine) and I would NEVER contribute to that kind of pain. That was a really weird question. I assume you think that the fact that I have never experienced being an adopter means I don't have any right to object to adoption? I don't think so.......

To Another; Why should it bother you that my reunited children refer to me and think of me as their Mother? They also call their adopters the same thing. They have enough love to go around. Doesn't your adoption-acquired child have the same capacity or has adoption stunted his/her emotional growth? You are obviously very insecure. Get over it.

To The Person Who Objected To My Piece on My Hospital Visit; At no time did I ever say that I was not grateful for the trained people and the technology that was able to give me, FOR A CHANGE, a positive diagnosis. But that did not negate the fact that I should have been on the right medication to begin with (we could have an entire discussion about HMO's and drug coverage on this one) and that I felt 10 times worse after going into the hospital than I did when I went in. I will go to the ends of the earth to avoid another chemical stress test and you can take that baby to the bank. As a person who has numerous medical conditions and is on disability and is damn sick and tired of being sick and tired, I figure I can gripe about whatever I want to. It hurt and it felt terrible and I have the right to complain. This will have to be YOUR problem, honey-bunch.

OK..questions and comments answered for today.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Second-Class Citizen Moms

"this treatment mothers get,
where once adoption gets its hooks into you, you are fair game for one
and all, is so animal kingdom to me--all the other animals, even
family members, pile on in the most uncivilized way once you have
been cut out of the pack for this very special and awful abuse" -E.

The words above were written in a post to a private group by another OUSA Mother of Loss and it gave me a very visceral jolt. I have often thought that there were two groups of people against whom discrimination and derision were still allowed or considered "politically correct." One group is the population of obese Americans and the other would have to be the single Mother of adoption loss. It is sad to say it, but what my friend wrote is true. Once you become pregnant while single and/or have the bad taste to be financially strapped and/or have not completed your education, you get immediately placed on the list of possible prey animals (birfmudders). Once you have been lured into the adoption surrender trap, you are fair game for one and all, to use, dismiss and abuse.

Your family usually wants you to just shut up and act like it never happened, the adopters want you to go away and stay gone or, at least, stay in your place (casual "friend" or some kind of "auntie") and the general public either abhors you for being the kind of mother that would "give your child away" or puts you into the *crackwhore niche. Too often, our adult, surrendered children seethe with anger at us, not understanding the coercion and browbeating that many of us endured or the seductive nature of the appeal to our love for our unborn child and concern for that child's "best interests." We're damned every direction in which we turn. Oh yes, we might get the occasional "thank you," from adopters who think that we just gave them some kind of "gift," but even that has the unsaid sentence after it.."now just go away." I, personally, do not appreciate the specious "Thanks" that get thrown our way like some kind of alms for the poor and my children were NEVER "gifts" for strangers.

Believe me when I say that NO ONE tells you that your child might grow up to hate you for surrender. They tell us, instead, that they will hate us if we keep and raise them, that they will thank us for saving them from a life with nasty, old, unfit us. They don't tell us that we will suffer an ongoing grief that is outside the pale and that it never goes away. Our families develop some kind of mental block that keeps them from being able to support us in our grief and everyone treats us like we deserve this kind of treatment. For WHAT? Being sexual beings...loving not wisely but too well..falling for a line of bull from some guy...forgetting a birth control pill..surrendering to overwhelming forces??? Damn people, this is definitely a case of the punishment NOT fitting the NON-"crime."

*Back to the "crackwhore" persona..if any of us speak out and speak up, you can bet your last dollar that the drug-addicted, neglectful, abusive Mom will be trotted out and held up as a reason for the insanity of adoption to continue. We get defined by our lowest, common denominator. Not many people wants to acknowledge that this particular person is part of a miniscule minority among the Mothers who have LOST (I love saying that because it seems to irritate someone out there) children to adoption. Yet, you see very little about the abusive adopter (some even kill their adoption-acquired children) even though it happens quite often(see "adopter abuse" threads at msn group, Anti-AdoptionTruth). Nope...the adopter seems to escape the predator that wants to cut the M.O.L. out of the herd and pounce because the adopter is one of the predators.

They say that predators always go for the weakest member of the herd. In our case, they go for the disenfranchised, the titular "unfit", the deeply wounded woman who dared to be fertile, single and less than rich and famous. And if we fight back and stand up with pride and show our own claws, those predators become incensed to the point of outrage. It's funny, but once I did start standing up and fighting back, I found out that many of the animals that were preying on us were NOT lions, but hyenas who are vicious, ugly and who tend to be rather sneaky, unprincipled, unfair and basically, cowards.

My friend's wonderful comment has helped me realize that the predators and the guardians of the status quo are not going to fight fair. We are in for a bloody fight, I think...tooth and claw will be deployed and some will bear scars after the melee is over. But I also saw a nature film once, where a herd of animals stood back-to-back and fought off the predators to save the young among them. That will happen with us, I think. We are smarter than the average herd animals and we are sick and tired of being food for the adoption predators. They might as well show their talons now, because we are standing up, speaking out and fighting back.